Pemex 2006 Crude Output Dips 2.31% to 3.26Mb/d

Mexico's state oil company Pemex produced an average of 3.26Mb/d of crude oil last year, down 2.31% from 2005, the company said in a statement.

Production in December from the Cantarell field, which accounts for roughly 60% of total output, slid 25.3% to 2.00Mb/d compared to the same month 2005.

Pemex attributed the drop at Cantarell to "adverse meteorological events" that reduced production 154,000b/d for 10 days.

Cantarell in 2006 produced an average of 1.79Mb/d, down 12% from the previous year, the statement said. Pemex has said Cantarell output will fall in coming years.

Company CEO Jesus Reyes Heroles said previously that one challenge facing Pemex will be to maintain production levels. For its part, IMF has said the sustainability of Pemex's production is a "potential concern" as output has grown little in recent years.

However, Pemex - Latin America's largest oil company- said output at other fields has helped offset the drop at Cantarell.

Crude production in January reached 3.15Mb/d and another 90,000b/d will be added when the Akal TQ platform begins operations this quarter, the statement said.

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